The Insatllation Experiment postcard


Barbara hashimoto, Bed of Junk Mail

"Bed of Junk Mail," video by Petra Bachmaier

Bed of Junk Mail
Bed of Junk Mail is a whimsical, sensual peek into the guilty pleasures of excess. The genesis of this piece came from Junk Mail Confessions, video-taped conversations with exhibition visitors in Los Angeles, Paris, and Chicago during the five-year run of Hashimoto’s project, Junk Mail Experiment. These soliloquies always began as a rant against the waste and intrusion of this unsolicited postal menace (junk mail), but frequently evolved into revealed private secrets of fantasy indulgences induced and encouraged by these slick advertisements and consumer catalogs.  In this first public showing of Bed of Junk Mail, Hashimoto has created a fanciful vignette inspired by two seemingly contradictory forces: the innocence of Little Nemo in Slumberland‘s darkly surreal somnolent quest for the land of Morpheus, and the casual stark reality of Leon Bellocq’s Crib Girls of Storyville  (early 1900’s photographs of the private lives of the women of New Orlean’s Red Light District.) This installation is crammed into a tiny storefront window space further  referencing the Crib Girls and Window Brothels of Amsterdam (some of which in recent years have been converted into artists’ exhibition spaces) and the comic-strip framing of Windsor McCay’s Little Nemo.

Barbara Hashimoto’s visual and performance work has been exhibited throughout the United States, Japan, Europe, Mexico, and the Middle East. It is in more than 300 collections, including The Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of American Art, The Museum of Arts and Design (New York), The Art Institute of Chicago’s Joan Flasch Collection, and The National Museum for Women in the Arts. Educated at Yale, she was based in Tokyo and Los Angeles, before moving to Chicago in 2006. Though the role of materiality is significant, Hashimoto’s work is researched-based and conceptually driven. Working in a broad array of media, she is known for both her ceramic- and paper-based work of intimate scale as well as and her expansive environmental art projects embracing activism and community engagement. Her numerous solo exhibitions include ones at the Musée du Montparnasse (Paris), Ruth Bachofner Gallery (Los Angeles), Dorothy Weiss Gallery (San Francisco), The Kohler Art Center (Sheboygan), and Dubhe Carreño Gallery (Chicago). Her work has appeared in Art in America, Sculpture Magazine, Art on Paper, The Los Angeles Times, Sculpture Magazine, Chicago Tribune, The Christian Science Monitor, World Sculpture News, Bangkok Post, Asahi Shinbun, Jerusalem Post, and in Emmanuel Cooper’s Contemporary Ceramics -- International Perspective and ISC Press’s The New Earthwork.

Bed of Junk Mail
photo: John Faier


The Installation Experiment is a featured program for Chicago Artist Month and is associated with the 23rd International Sculpture Conference sponsored by the International Sculpture Center (ISC) and is supported by the ISC’s local chapter, Chicago Sculpture International, Chicago Arts District, Podmajersky, and BauerLatoza Studio for details and updates.